Category Archives: Travel

This dessert van in Hyderabad is simply W.O.W.

Sweet truck Aishwarya and Priyanka at their truck parked in Sainikpuri, some of their adorable looking desserts | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

W.O.W is the first food cart run and managed by two young girls

Aishwarya Balasubramanian and Priyanka Natesh are cousins in their early 20s. Yet it was not until boredom with their regular jobs and the wish to pursue their individual dreams brought them to a common discussion platform, that they realised they might have something common and concrete on their minds.

Aishwarya wanted to do something that allowed her some time to pursue higher studies and Priyanka wanted to try out her bakes and goodies outside the closed circle she was catering to. Also the fact that one loves to eat and the other loves to bake made the partnership a good one for a food business. Without spending much time on their idea they discussed their ‘business plan’ with their parents.

Food business was fine. But the girls wanted to run a food truck and name it ‘Women on wheels’ (W.O.W) “That was a concern for our parents; mostly about our safety. So when we started, one of our parents would be there with us for safety and to understand the crowd that came to buy our food stuff,” says Aishwarya.

W.O.W’s happy glowsign can be spotted from a distance among the line of food trucks which stand on the popular food spots of Secunderabad. W.O.W is also the first and the only food truck managed and owned by women in the twin cities.

“After we decided on the plan we approached experts who design food trucks in Hyderabad. We knew what we wanted for the exterior look but were unaware of the technicalities so we let the experts deal with that. We also gave him the happy bubble gum colour theme for the colour palette.
Our food truck is based on the Mom&Pop food truck culture in the West. We wanted to do something in the food truck business that would make us stand out from the rest. Since Priyanka bakes and is very popular for her eggless desserts, we were confident of our time-tested products,” says Aishwarya.

W.O.W can be spotted at different stops in Secunderabad on different days from 7.30 pm to 10 pm. They have a new menu everyday; apart from home-made desserts, cakes in a jar, they also sell gelatos and fruit flavoured sorbets. “I used to bake because it was something I enjoyed doing. I started experimenting with eggless bakes and they became popular. Then by word of mouth I started getting orders and within no time, my hobby baking turned me into a home baker,” says Priyanka.

While the girls haven’t faced any trouble from their clients, it was the other food cart businesses that showed them some resistance in the beginning. “We weren’t welcome for sure. They would try to make us lose our spot. We stayed put and without jostling for space, made our way into the business in Habsiguda,” says Aishwarya.

Since W.O.W sells only desserts and cakes, their food truck sometime turns into an impromptu place for birthday celebration for friends. “Sometimes some regular diners come and place orders with us for a surprise birthday treat. That’s an overwhelming feeling. It’s nice to make us feel a part of such a celebration,” adds Priyanka.

Aishwarya who is pursuing her PGDMA in Human resources says she is a people’s person and loves to talk to the crowd to understand their taste, likes and dislikes. “The food cart business has been a learning experience. It is doing good and we are still innovating but the fact that ‘there is a rule, yet there is no rule’ makes it uncertain.”

How would she explain ‘there is a rule, yet there is no rule’? “Sometimes we are asked to move our cart saying it’s against the law and when I seek written permission to park the food cart, I am told I can park it anywhere except in a ‘no parking’ zone and we shouldn’t obstruct traffic.”

source: / The Hindu / Home> Life & Style> Food / by Prabalika M.Borah / January 08th, 2018

Around the world in 26 years

Bitten by travel bug Indranil Chowdhuri

Hyderabad-based Indranil Chowdhuri combines his passion for travel and sports and has visited 107 countries so far
North Korea: Check

Greenland: Check

Cuba: Check

No, this isn’t a list of all countries difficult to get a visa but a few places among the 107 nations that Indranil Chowdhuri, 56, visited in the past 26 years. While travelling was integral to his job early on, later it became an all-consuming passion.

Sharing details about his journeys, Indranil says, “My first trip abroad was when I went to Myanmar in 1992 for work. Then I travelled a lot as I was into exports. When I casually counted one day, I realised that I went to 40 countries. That was when I wanted to reach the three figure mark and stepped up on visiting newer countries. The critical mass of my visits has been in the last 12 years, and though after I hit a century, I lost the urge for numbers, I still am passionate about exploring new places.”

As an avid sports fan, Indranil combines travel with sporting events, be it Olympics, football world cups or major tennis events so that he can merge both his great loves. What research is a part of a frequent traveller’s routine? Indranil explains, “I start with Lonely Planet guides. I have a lot of them with me and then I read up extensively about the place. I make notes and do my own ticketing and reservations. I don’t engage the services of an agent or a tour company unless there is no option, as they have a pre-planned programme and I don’t like that at all. Travel should include the freedom to do my own thing my way.”

Confessing that travelling excites him as it gives him a chance to explore different countries, cultures and cuisines, Indranil says the challenge is to converse with local people in their language. He explains, “I do basic research and try to speak their language. When they see me try, they always speak English which makes it easy to blend in.

The intrepid traveller also has a thing for souvenirs and points out to rooms filled with trinkets in his apartment. Shot glasses, magnets, swords and daggers (exquisitely carved), busts of famous personalities, tees and baseball caps — there is no shortage of reminders for trips he has undertaken. Indranil says, “I never wanted a big collection, but somehow when you travel you pick up things. I have 3000 plus shot glasses of cities, celebrity houses and football games I’ve been to.”

For someone who has been to Peru and stayed with an Inca family, spent time with a nomadic tribe in a desert in Mongolia and swam in the rivers of Amazon (where he narrowly escaped an alligator), Indranil recounts his most unforgettable experience which nearly got him killed, “I ran into former President of USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, at a cemetery in Russia and raised my hand to greet him. He was surrounded with KGB agents who pounced on me as they thought I was about to shoot. Luckily they realised I was a tourist and since this was before the concept of selfie was introduced, I took a picture of myself with Gorbachev in the background surrounded by his guards.”

On his to-do list is Bahamas which he couldn’t visit so far due to visa issues and a trip to Russia next year during FIFA World cup.

Ask him about his plans for travel in India and he signs off saying that’s a post-retirement trip.

source: / The Hindu / Home> Society / by Mallik Thattipalli / January 04th, 2018

Kacheguda becomes India’s first energy-efficient railway station

File photo of the Kacheguda railway station in Hyderabad. | Photo Credit: P.V.SIVAKUMAR

Kacheguda Railway Station under the South Central Railway (SCR) has earned the unique distinction of being the first Energy Efficient ‘A1 Category’ Railway Station on Indian Railways.

The station has achieved 100% energy efficiency by replacing 1,312 conventional lights with light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, among other steps. About 370 ceiling fans, too, were replaced with energy efficient Brushless DC Electrical (BLDC) motors fans, and 12 air conditioners with energy efficient inverter-type air conditioners. All these measures would save about 1.76 lakh units and ₹14.08 lakh per annum with reduction of the connected load by 46.18 kW for Railways, said General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav.

Complimenting Divisional Railway Manager Arun Kumar Jain and his colleagues V. Venkata Ramana and P. Prem Kumar for the feat, Mr. Yadav said they had put in extensive efforts to achieve this distinction.

Kacheguda Railway station is a historic building and had completed 100 years. Situated in the heart of Hyderabad, it was built in 1916 by the Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway during the reign of Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by V. Geetanath / Hyderabad – December 08th, 2017

Young girl pilots PM’s trip on Hyderabad Metro

Loco pilot is an engineer from Nizamabad

Woman power was all visible as the first ride of the Metro Rail with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and other dignitaries sitting in was piloted by a young lady. Supriya Sunam, who stormed yet another male bastion.

It wasn’t a mechanical ride for this Mechanical Engineering graduate from Vignan Bharati Institute of Technology (VBIT) in Aushapur as the Indian Prime Minister was on board along with the Chief Minister. She was also aware of history being recorded but that did not unnerve her and she ensured the ride was smooth.

Surpriya was part of the driving team who had undergone rigorous training for over 18 months before getting the nod. She has clocked over 2,500 Kms of driving experience during the training period, a senior official revealed. M. Rajasekhar Chary was the other local pilot on the inaugural run. Family, near and dear of this 24-year old Nizamabad native are filled with joy and excitement seeing her pictures splashed all over the television. However, her parents Prabhavathi Sanum and Pramod Kumar, who live in the CSI Church Compound in Nizamabad were not aware of her assignment as it was kept secret.

“I have just seen on the television and been thrilled and amazed. Probably it was decided in the last minute and therefore she did not tell us,” said Prabhavathi who retired as office superintendent in the APDDC. “It is a proud moment for us. In fact, in her M.Tech at CBIT she did her project on railways itself. Hence, she got selection in railways with ease,” said Promod Kumar, a retired teacher.

Happily surprised: Parents of Supriya Sanum Promod Kumar and Prabhavathi at their home in Nizamabad. | Photo Credit: K_V_RAMANA

Proud moment

Supriya had her schooling and junior college education at Kakatiya Educational Institutions in Nizamabad.

Her elder brother Prasanna Kumar works with Amazon. “I am proud of my sister,” said her cousin Varun while Sulakshana Rana, a teacher in Nirmala Hruday High School said Supriya’s achievement was inspirational.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by R. Ravikanth Reddy & P. Ram Mohan / Hyderabad – Nizamabad, November 28th, 2017

SCR safety awards presented

Night Patrol Man of the Secunderabad Division K. Prabhakar and Vijayawada Division technician P. Ashok Kumar were awarded the ‘Men of the Month’ for showing alertness in the duty and timely action to prevent unsafe conditions, by South Central Railway General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav on Monday.

Earlier, he had a video review meeting with top officials of all the six divisional heads where he urged them to take proper advance measures to ensure the safety and prevent unsafe incidences.

Loco drivers should be issued proper instructions related to visibility keeping the monsoon season in view, as part of ensuring safety at the manned and unmanned level crossings.

Focus should be on loco and signal failures as they effect punctuality and also speed restrictions should be removed wherever possible, a press release said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – July 04th, 2017

All roads lead to Kondagattu shrine

Devotees make a beeline to the temple on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti

All roads leading to the historic Sri Anjaneya Swamy devasthanam in Kondagattu in Jagital turned saffron on Friday, with devotees making a beeline to the temple shrine ahead of Hanuman Jayanti on May 21.

Devotees started pouring in from various parts of the State as temple authorities launched the celebrations by conducting ‘homam,’ which would continue till Sunday. Predicting heavy rush on Sunday, many devotees were seen offering prayers at the temple shrine on Friday. Several Hanuman devotees wearing a mala were seen walking to the temple barefoot in the scorching heat as part of a ritual.

Temporary shelters

Devasthanam authorities, in coordination with the district administration and the police, made elaborate arrangements for the same. Temporary shelters were erected to protect the devotees from the sweltering heat. More than 750 police personnel were roped in for bandobust.

To avoid road mishaps, the police have decided to regulate traffic on the ghat road by restricting the entry of vehicles.

Parking spaces would be designated on the foothill of the shrine on the JNTU college road, Jagtial, and Karimnagar roads.

The police also installed 52 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to keep vigil.

The temple authorities expect four lakh pilgrims to visit the temple on Hanuman Jayanti.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by K.M. Dayashankar / Jagtial – May 19th, 2017

First of its kind Buddha park in Telangana

The Buddhavanaman is first of its kind in the country with thematic segments depicting the major events in the life of Buddha.

The Buddhavanaman is first of its kind in the country with thematic segments depicting the major events in the life of Buddha and stories of his previous births. (Representational image)


Sriparvatarama or Buddhavanam, the prestigious Buddhist heritage theme park, is getting ready at Nagarjunasagar. The Buddhavanaman is first of its kind in the country with thematic segments depicting the major events in the life of Buddha and stories of his previous births. An Amaravati-style replica of Mahastupa with sculptural embellishments will be the main attraction at the park. “Nearly 75 per cent of the project is completed. It’s one of its kind in the country and has replicas of all Buddhist stupas. The state government has sanctioned `25 crore for the project,” said Mr Mallepally Laxmaiah, special officer, Buddhavanam Project.

The Telangana Tourism Develo-pment Corporation is developing Buddhavanam with financial assistance from the Centre for domestic and foreign tourists, especially tourists and pilgrims from Southeast Asian countries. The corporation acquired 274 acres on the left bank of the Krishna for the project. It has been divided into eight segments with an imposing entrance plaza.

The eight segments are 1. Buddha Charitavanam 2. Bodhisattva (Jataka Park) 3 Dhyanavanam (meditation park), 4. Stupa park 5. Acharya Nagarjuna International Centre for Higher Buddhist learning 6. Krishna valley 7 Buddhism in Telugu States especially important stupas, sculptures, statues of philosophers and others in Telangana 8. Mahastupa which symbolically represent the Astangamarga propounded by Buddha, a replica of Amravati stupa.

source: / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation> Current Affairs / February 14th, 2017

City gets its first ebus

No Smoke: The first ebus received by the Telangana RTC in Hyderabad on Thursday. | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

The next time you feel a juggernaut whiz past with nary a ‘whish’, you will feel a tingle of excitement running down your spine. That will be the sleek and silent, low-slung beauty, an ebus made by BYD Auto Industry of China.

On Wednesday, Goldstone Infratech, which is said to be the Indian distributor for the Chinese ebus-maker, offered the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) one of these, the BYD K series, a battery-operated bus with 324 KW of power.

When contacted, Executive Director for TSRTC’s Greater Hyderabad Zone A. Purushotham said they planned to run this environmental-friendly, pollution-free bus on the Jubilee Bus Station-Shamshabad airport route as a pilot project for a few days to check its efficacy.

The service is to be launched within a day or two, most likely by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

The 12-metre-long bus is a 31-seater and is low-slung with a ground clearance of 360 mm. It can run for slightly more than 180 km on a single charge over a seven-hour duration and has a charging time ranging between two and a half to three hours for the next shift. It can accelerate from 0 to 50 KMPH in about 20 seconds, powered silently by electric motors in the wheel hubs and can achieve top speed of over 96 km an hour. Enquiries about the details like power and the like with engineers revealed that the 324 KW of output was almost equivalent to the 295 horsepower that the luxury buses like the Volvo produce. “From what I have seen, it is almost like our Garuda (Volvo) buses,” said a senior engineer.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Suresh Krishnamoorthy / Hyderabad – February 10th, 2017

Nagoba jatara concludes amid spiritual fervour

A Raj Gond displaying his combat skills at the Betal puja ritual at the jatara in Adilabad district on Tuesday. -Photo: S. Harpal Singh | Photo Credit: S. HARPAL SINGH;S. HARPAL SINGH – S_ HARPAL SINGH

The Nagoba jatara concluded on Tuesday with the Mesram clan Raj Gonds and Pardhans leaving their holy place in the evening for camping at Harkapur in Indervelli mandal before reaching Pulimadugu in Utnoor mandal and later performing puja at Budumdev temple at Shampur in Utnoor mandal on January 3.

The Adivasis performed Mandal Gajiling, part of Betal puja which entailed show of combat skill.

Earlier in the day, the 22 kithe or categories of Raj Gonds and the Pardhans divided the prasad and the sacred pots collected during the five-day pilgrimage of the Nagoba temple among themselves.

The women of the Patel households washed the feet of the representatives of the 22 kithe as a mark of thanksgiving for their role in making the jatara a success.

The Bheti Korial, the new women members added to the clan by way of marriage also greeted the representatives by saying ‘ram-ram’ and hoped to meet next year at Keslapur.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Special Correspondent / Adilabad – February 01st, 2017

Cemetery on Residency Building premises to be restored

Safeguarding heritage value: The tomb of the first British resident to be buried in the cemetery behind Residency Building, lies neglected. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

One of the major challenges will be to bring the ground to its original level, as more than one feet of debris has accumulated over the years, says an architect

On October 22, 1807, Francis Sydenham, the then British resident, was buried in the cemetery yards away from the Residency Building on Koti Women’s College premises. Years later, two more residents and another 39 Britishers living in Hyderabad were laid to rest at the same place, adding to the city’s history.

Largely forgotten, the cemetery is a case of neglect leading to some of the tombstones having been damaged over the years. For instance, the grave of Sydenham is built on a pavilion, which now has damaged columns. Similar is the fate of other graves, including that of the second British resident George Busby. The head of his grave’s tombstone lay broken there, while some others have collapsed.

However, there is a good news for the cemetery, as it will be restored along with the Residency Building, which is currently under restoration. N.R. Visalatchy, Director of State Department of Archaeology and Museums, said work there will also be taken up in the coming days. “There is a lot of damage there, and as of now, the cleaning has been completed,” she told The Hindu.

Work at the cemetery will jointly be taken up by the State Department of Archaeology and Museums, Osmania University, the World Monument Fund (WMF), Deccan Heritage Foundation and the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia, said Ms. Visalatchy. “We realised that the cemetery is also part of the Residency Building’s history, which will soon go into the second phase of restoration,” she added.

One of the officials working at the site said the graves are built of granite stones, which can be found in other cemeteries of Britishers who were buried in different cities in India. Among the graves is also that of Arthur Austin Roberts, the third and last British resident who lived in Hyderabad back then. He was buried on May 10, 1968, just two months after he came to Hyderabad, according to the inscription on his tombstone.

One of the major challenges in restoring the cemetery will be to first bring the ground to its original level, as more than one feet of debris has accumulated over the years, said an architect who is working on the restoration of the Residency Building.

He added that the overgrown vegetation has also impacted the structural stability of the place, which had a garden when it was first built.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Yunus L. Lasania / Hyderabad – January 04th, 2017